It’s Valentine’s Day. Please try and forget about the stock market, jobs, home prices, and any other bad news that is on your mind. Instead, please consider how a Koala love story wins hearts after deadly Aussie fires.

A love story between two badly burned koalas rescued from Australia’s deadliest bushfires has provided some heart-warming relief after days of devastation and the loss of over 180 lives.

Left: A koala named Sam is given a drink of water by Country Fire Authority volunteer fire fighter Dave Tree after he rescued her following deadly fires that swept through the area of Mirboo North, about 120km (75 miles) southeast of Melbourne, February 8, 2009.

The story of Sam and her new boyfriend Bob emerged after volunteer firefighter Dave Tree used a mobile phone to film the rescue of the bewildered female found cowering in a burned out forest at Mirboo North, 150 km (90 miles) southeast of Melbourne.

Photos and a video of Tree, 44, approaching Sam while talking gently to her, and feeding her water from a plastic bottle as she put her burned claw in his cold, wet hand quickly hit video sharing website YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XSPx7S4jr4, making her an Internet sensation.

Tree, who has been a volunteer firefighter for 26 years, said it was extremely rare to get so close to a koala so he asked his colleague Brayden Groen, 20, to film him.

“You can [see] how she stops and moves forward and looks at me. It was like a look saying “I can’t run, I’m weak and sore, put me out of my misery,”” Tree told Reuters. “I yelled out for some water and I sat down with her and tipped the water up. It was in my hand and she reached for the bottle then put her right claw into my left hand which was cold so it must have given her some pain relief and she just left it there. It was just amazing.”

Right: A koala named Bob (top), rescued from last week’s deadly bushfires, puts his paw around new friend and fellow fire survivor Sam as she recovers from her burns at a wildlife centre near Melbourne February 11, 2009. A love story about two koalas rescued from Australia’s deadliest bushfires has provided a glimmer of hope after days of devastation and the loss of more than 180 lives.

Colleen Wood from the Southern Ash Wildlife Shelter that is caring for Sam and Bob said both koalas were doing well.

She said Sam had suffered second degree burns to her paws and would take seven to eight months to recover while Bob had three burned paws with third degree burns and should be well enough to return to the bush in about four months.

“They keep putting their arms around each other and giving each other hugs. They really have made friends and it is quite beautiful to see after all this.” said Wood.

“Sam is probably aged between two to four going by her teeth and Bob is about four so they have a muchness with each other.”

Here is a set of Six Pictures of Koalas Sam and Bob

Video Link: Sam The Koala Video

If you cannot find a Koala to hug this Valentine’s day, please give a hug to someone you love.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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